It’s your friendly Editor in Chief April here, sharing some movies that seemed pretty run-of-the-mill in their previews, and may not have gotten much critical acclaim, but are surprisingly entertaining all the same. With strong casts and snappy scripts, these films may just surprise you. Note that descriptions below are from IMDB.com.
You Again (PG, 4/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $14.99 in HD)
In Los Angeles, the PR Marni Olivia Olsen is promoted to VP of the RMK Investment office in New York. She travels first to her hometown to the wedding of her big brother Will with his fiancée Joanna. On the flight, Marni freaks out when she learns that Joanna is her arch nemesis JJ, who had bullied her in Ridgefield High School.
Marni discovers that her family loves Joanna, and when she meets her, she wants Joanna to apologize for the humiliations she was subjected to in high-school. But Joanna pretends that she has not recognized Marni and promises a fresh start to them. Meanwhile Joanna’s aunt Ramona arrives for the wedding and Marni’s mother Gail Byer recognizes her as her high-school former friend that has become her enemy. The resented Marni seeks revenge and decides to expose the past of Joanna to Will to protect her brother and force him to call off his wedding while Gail begins a personal dispute with Ramona. - Written by Claudio Carvalho
April’s comment: any woman who was ever bullied in school or felt like an outsider will find a lot to relate to—and laugh along with—in this unexpectedly insightful film.
Just Go With It (PG-13, 4/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
Danny (Adam Sandler), after getting burned in a previous relationship, decides to avoid commitment by telling every girl he hooks up with that he’s married. But when he meets a gorgeous young girl named Palmer, he thinks she could be the one until she finds out he’s “married”.
So in order to keep their relationship still going, he tells her that he and his “wife” are getting a divorce. When she insists on meeting her, he asks Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife.
Katherine takes a call from one of her children, Palmer assumes that they’re Danny’s so wants to meet them. And it’s at this meeting that Katherine’s son tricks Danny into taking them all on a trip to Hawaii.. - Written by rcs0411
April’s comment: The setup is cliched, but the performances do a lot of heavy lifting in this one. Watch for Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews (yes, of The Dave Matthews Band) in small roles as the “perfect” couple whose “perfect” life isn’t really as great as they want people to think.
Smokin’ Aces (R, 3.5/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $13.99 in HD)
Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy “Aces” Israel, a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state’s evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents dispatched to Aces’ Lake Tahoe hideout.
When the word of the price on Aces’ head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues’ gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces. - Written by Anthony Pereyra
April’s comment: This has all the dark comedy and action of Boondock Saints blended with a twisty plot and enough interesting characters to bring Ocean’s 11 (with Clooney and Pitt) to mind. Piven shows surprising depth and range here.
Grown Ups (R, 4/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $13.99 in HD)
Grown Ups (PG-13, 4/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
In 1978, five 12-year-olds win a CYO basketball championship. Thirty years later, they gather with their families for their coach’s funeral and a weekend at a house on a lake where they used to party.
By now, each is a grownup with problems and challenges: Marcus is alone and drinks too much. Rob, with three daughters he rarely sees, is always deeply in love until he turns on his next ex-wife. Eric is overweight and out of work. Kurt is a househusband, henpecked by wife and mother-in-law. Lenny is a successful Hollywood agent married to a fashion designer; their kids take privilege for granted.
Can the outdoors help these grownups rediscover connections or is this chaos in the making? - Written by jhailey
April’s comment: I’m not generally a fan of Adam Sandler movies, because too often they stoop to gross-out humor, various distasteful stereotypes and so on, but in this one the ‘Sandler effect’ is pretty minimal on account of the large cast and many subplots. There’s still a bit of the usual tasteless stuff you’d expect in a Sandler vehicle, but this movie is surprisingly warm and funny.